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BRIDGESTONE NHL WINTER CLASSIC: MAPLE LEAFS v RED WINGS


January 1, 2014


Randy Carlyle


DETROIT, MICHIGAN

Toronto ¬Ė 3
Detroit ¬Ė 2


COACH CARLYLE:  It was a little chilly out there, but got a lot warmer by the time the game was over, that's for sure.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
COACH CARLYLE:  Fine.  I was born and raised in Sudbury and spent 18years in Winnipeg, so I know a little bit about cold weather.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
COACH CARLYLE:  Finally.  It's been a long three weeks, that's for sure.  With what's gone on with our hockey club and the way we've played, the inconsistencies we've played to and the microscope that we've been under, you get to see a lot of them, and there's a lot of things that are going on inside that are hard to deal with when you're always constantly under a camera or microphone.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
COACH CARLYLE:  I just think that the venue is a raucous type of atmosphere, which I expected.  And the weather definitely changed the way it was presented with the snow coming down.  And it brought back a lot of memories from a childhood of playing outside.
And I'm sure there's a lot of guys that have played on that ice surface that have never played outside.¬† And growing up in northern Ontario, we played a lot of our hockey and never really played in‑door hockey until I was 14years old.¬† So there was a lot of outdoor rinks experience.
And then, as I said growing, up in Sudbury and moving out to Winnipeg for a good part of my life, my children played in a lot of outdoor rinks and we spent a lot of time in the outdoor rinks, scrimmaging and watching them, tournaments, that sort of stuff.  That's where it brought back memories for me personally.
As far as the event, it was nice to see the fans and the number of people here, 105,000 people, to view a hockey game.  And the game was back and forth.  I don't know if we would call it a gem from a pace standpoint, but there was a lot of snow and a lot of things to deal to with, and then it ended in a shootout.

Q.  What do you think it is that keeps Leafs fans so loyal and devoted to the Leafs?  They haven't won the Stanley Cup 1967.
COACH CARLYLE:  I can't speak for the previous time that I haven't been here.  I played in Toronto a long time ago.  Probably most of you guys wouldn't know that.  In 1976 I was a draft in Toronto Maple Leafs, and played there for two years and then was moved to Pittsburgh.
So I have a little bit of a touch with what it's like to be around the organization.  And those were the Harold Ballard days.  And there's a lot of turmoil.  And if there wasn't, he created more.
And it was a funny place.  As a player, you're idolized.  The players are a premium in the public, and deservedly so, where when you're working on the other side of it, the management and coaching, not so.  That's just the way it is.  You better be prepared to deal with it.
But the passion that our market has demonstrated just proves to the rest of the hockey world that the value is there.  And if you see the season tickets list and the number of years that people have held their season tickets and are cherished and passed on from family to family, you want to start to get a better understanding of it.
And come to a media scrum anytime there's an event, be it a hiring or a firing, you're going to see 40 to 50 media personnel there.
So there's a great amount of interest in the hockey club.  There's a great amount of passion that's developed in the market.  And, as I've stated before, it's part of our responsibility as this coaching staff and this newer management over the last couple of years, that we have to build the respect back for this organization.

Q.  Did you notice players kind of adapting more to the ice conditions and the snow as the game went on, and what were you trying to tell them about adjusting to the conditions?
COACH CARLYLE:  It was hard.  Because the snow built up.  When the snow wasn't there, right after they scraped it, the pace of the game picked up.  But as soon as the snow accumulated, then it was evident they couldn't do much to the neutral ice.  A lot of pucks were bouncing away and a lot of things happening out there.
I think it really showed for us when our power play, which has been clicking along and moving the puck effectively, we couldn't do anything with it.  Yet Detroit, when they had their power play offense, they had four or five shots right off the bat with their power play.  But then as the game went on, their last power play, I don't know if they got a shot on that, so it was kinda like that.
Depending on the snow conditions and the amount of snow that was accumulating, it really had an effect on people handling the puck and moving the puck.

Q.  What has Tyler Bozak brought to the team since coming back from his injury?
COACH CARLYLE:  Again, Tyler is a player that our coaching staff trusts, pretty simple.  And when coaches trust people, they put them in situations where you believe the player will get the job done.  And Bozy's a guy that can kill penalties and take the power play and takes important faceoffs.
He's a reliable player.¬† And if we had a model for the younger players to follow, it would be Tyler Bozak as far as the confident player, not a big guy but he gets in the way, he gets inside, he wins his share of one‑on‑one battles, very strong in the faceoff circle, and he's got the hockey sense.¬† The puck follows him around.

Q.  Can you touch on Gleason now that it's official?
COACH CARLYLE:  The decision was made to find a player that we felt that was going to fit into our back end more so than what Johnny Liles.  And Johnny Liles was an excellent pro for us and an excellent person.  From a coaching staff's perspective, Johnny Liles was one of the leaders, and he came and when this coaching staff was put together, he was one of the guys that fully supported what we were trying to do.
And this is a tough situation when you have people like that that support you and it just doesn't work anymore for us and our situation, couldn't get his minutes, and we felt with Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner, the young players coming along, it pushed him out the door.  And that's an unfortunate thing in our situation.
But, again, with Gleason, we feel that he can come back into a hockey environment where we can support him with the style of play that I think suits his style.
We want him to be a guy that can come back in and move the puck.  He's a big man.  We just want him to make a contribution.  His contribution won't be expected to be a power play guy, won't be expected to be a defensive guy, but a big strong guy that can move the puck.
In reality, it's very similar to what we're expecting with Paul Ranger.  And Paul Ranger, finally, in our eyes, and I think in his eyes, he's starting to play at the level he's capable of playing.  And that's been a while for him.
And anytime you can have support in your lineup at those positions, they're critical.  We all know there's going to be more injuries.  We know that there's going to be a lot of tests coming along the way as we go down to the schedule.  The games are going to get tougher, and we need to have quality people in those positions.

Q.¬† Have you ever seen Kessel back check (indiscernible) he did there at the end‑‑
COACH CARLYLE:  When he turned the puck over?

Q.  Yes.
COACH CARLYLE:  Yeah, I saw that before.  Because he's turned it over before in the same situation.  And I saw the desperation and the fear in his eyes.  And I have seen that.  It's usually when he makes that type of play.
But in reality it was the right play, and I would have to think‑‑ was it Nyquist?¬† Made a great read on it.¬† He stopped up and had his stick in the lane.¬† Because Dion Phaneuf was coming late.¬† And it was the right play, obviously, and sometimes you just have to give credit to the opposition.

Q.  The way that Jonathan is playing right now, does it make your decision who plays in your net easier or harder?
COACH CARLYLE:¬† I think there's never an easy decision.¬† I know there's always‑‑ there has been this constant "who is number one" question hovering over our hockey club.¬† And we look at it and say that Jonathan Bernier has come in and given us a chance and given us an opportunity in games, and that's what we are looking for.¬† And we feel James Reimer has done the same.
Right now Johnny is on a little bit of a run, and as long as he continues to provide us with the level of goaltending he has, it would be foolish for us to look another direction.
But there's going to be back to backs coming.¬† There's going to be opportunities for James to get back in the net.¬† And we think that‑‑ again, I know you're tired of hearing it and think that I'm full of it when I say 1‑A and 1‑B, but that's what I believe in.¬† And I think competition for the position allows people to compete and bring the best out of them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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